The fire started at around 8 a.m. in the kitchen after hot grease in a pan on the stove top ignited the area around the stove. Gasau, a long-time music instructor and choir director at Saint Paul Lutheran High School, said he and his wife were make homemade doughnuts when the fire started.
Gasau attempted to contain the fire while it was isolated in the kitchen, but soon realized his efforts were fruitless. Within a short period time, the fire was out of control and he called 911.
"Grease fires are not something you can just put out with water," Gasau said.
The West Central Fire Protection District responded to the house fire, at 10048 Berry Road south of Sweet Springs. Also responding to the call were the Concordia Fire Protection District and Houstonia fire department. Firefighters were on the scene until around 5 p.m. that evening.
"We really appreciate the efforts of the firefighters who responded," Gasau said. "They did a tremendous job."
From the point of origin, the fire spread east into the garage and west toward the interior of the house. The roof collapsed into the center of the home, but the outer walls remained standing. The two-car garage and kitchen area were completely destroyed. Gasau was able to get one car out of the garage, but a mini-van was completely destroyed in the fire.
Gasau and his wife and two granddaughters were able to safely exit the house without any injuries.
Several items on a small flatbed trailer are all that Gasau was able to salvage. The rest was a complete loss.
"If there was one thing, besides life, I wanted to save from the house, it was our picture albums," Gasau said. "And, despite damaged covers, they are okay."
Gasau said approximately 10-12 family photo albums, with pictures dating back to the 1920s, were spared in the fire.
Gasau said his family has been overwhelmed by the amount of support they have received from family, friends and neighbors.
The family has received many donations of clothes, hygiene products and other necessity items. However, there are still ways those in the community can help.
Two Concordia banks -- Concordia Bank and State Bank of Missouri -- have established accounts to which people can make donations for the Gasaus. Checks should be made payable to Bill and Linda Gasau Benefit.
Looking beyond the tragedy, Gasau said his wife want to rebuild on the property where their house burned. However, they will have to wait several weeks for the insurance company to assess the damages and make a payment.
They are temporarily staying at a dorm apartment in Biltz Hall at Saint Paul Lutheran High School. Gasau said he is not certain where he and his wife will stay in the upcoming months, but several people have offered to let them stay in their homes.
The Gasau's have four grown children who, when they heard about the fire, came to the aid of their parents.
Gasau and his son, Nick, were at the home Friday morning cleaning up what they could and beginning the long, arduous process of rebuilding their lives.
The farmhouse, located in Saline County, was on property that is locally known as the Eckhoff farm. The house was built by John Eckhoff in 1893 and was occupied by a member of the Eckhoff family until 1995.
Contact Nathan St. Clair at